A quick note for those of you who’ve asked about the second installment of my two-part of my piece on the US clean water rule: that is forthcoming, but those documentary-style packages are a lot of work and they take a lot of time. Working on that has held up other shows, like today’s, but be patient – and if you really want to hear more and better episode, you can support for me for as little as one dollar per month by becoming a patron at bionic-planet.com.
Indigenous people are our first line of defense against climate change, and today’s guest is one of their most eloquent defenders.
Hindou Ibrahim grew up in rural Chad, a member of the nomadic Mbororo people. Today, she co-chairs the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, and she advises — some would say charms, others would say cajoles — everyone from major corporations like Asia Pulp and Paper to small indigenous communities from Ecuador to Indonesia to take action on climate change.
Today’s episode is made possible in part by the Environmental Defense Fund, which covered my travel for this event, and of course Forest Trends, which publishes Ecosystem Marketplace and makes all of my work possible.
I’m coming to you from the Global Climate Actin Summit in San Francisco — so, apologies for the sound if it’s not up to par — but I actually recorded my interview a few months back, in Accra Ghana, at the Annual General Assembly of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, or TFA 2020, which you may remember from Episode 22.
TFA 2020 is comprised of about 100 entities — from governments like that of Ghana to companies like Unilever — committed to purging deforestation from key supply chains like those of palm oil, soy, and pulp&paper by the year 2020.
These companies and governments haven’t always been friendly or fair to indigenous people, and they still aren’t — which is why Hindou Ibrhim was invited to the event.
She first emerged as a vocal proponent of indigenous rights at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark — talks technically known as the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “COP 15”, as it’s usually known.
Indigenous rights have since been enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, and Hindou has emerged as the face of that process, and I was curious to find out what she expected to accomplish at the TFA meeting.
As it turns out, quite a lot. She’s now heading an indigenous working group within TFA 2020 that aims to forge cooperation between indigenous peoples and major corporations looking to secure finance by embracing the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which I covered in episode 5.
One reason this interview sat on ice is that Hindou covers a lot of territory, and I wanted to edit this the way I usually do — by dropping interjections in after-the-fact to provide context. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to do that — although if I get more funding I will edit this a bit more effectively.
For now, I just wanted to get those terms in your head — the COPs she talks about aren’t policemen, but year-end climate talks, while TFA is TFA 2020. She alludes to regional meetings and general assemblies, and that’s because TFA is broken into regional initiatives for Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
She references safeguards, which are indigenous rights enshrined in global treaties like the Paris Agreement, and she talks a lot about the coming thousand days, because when we talked, we had roughly 1000 days until the end of 2020, when hundreds of companies have promised to end deforestation.
In another episode, we’ll see that companies that make such pledges have, in fact, reduced their impact on forests — but less scrupulous companies have simply stepped into the gap, so the net impact on deforestation is less than hoped.
I started out by asking her to tell me a bit about her background — where she came from, and how she ended up here:
Indigenous leader Hindou Ibrahim closing out this episode of Bionic Planet.
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That’s all for today. Until next time, I’m Steve Zwick in San Francisco